Friday, February 26, 2010

Philippine court sentences 3 Sayyaf militants to life in prison

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 26, 2010) – A Filipino court sentenced three al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants to life in prison for the killings and beheading of soldiers in the largely Muslim province of Basilan, south of the Philippines.

One militant - Aramil Sulayman - was also acquitted of the same changes on Thursday, but all four men are still at-large after escaping from a prison in Basilan province in December last year.

The court sentenced the trio - Jemar Tarang, Amil Mandicung and salim Masud - after finding them guilty of the murder charges in the killing of 14 soldiers, many of them beheaded, in a firefight in the town of Al Barka in July 2007. At least a dozen marine soldiers were also wounded in the fighting.

The military previously accused the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in the beheading of the soldiers after straying into their territories while searching for kidnapped Italian Catholic priest Giancarlo Bossi.

Bossi, of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions, was kidnapped by rebels, after celebrating mass June 10, 2007 in the village of Bulawan in Zamboanga Sibugay’s Payao town. He was freed in Lanao del Norte province the next month in exchange for huge ransom. (Mindanao Examiner)

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